A tale from an African perspective….plsss drop your comment.
The strange man.
I woke up one morning, although it wasn’t bright yet…the time was probably 3 am. I didn’t really sleep at all, the feeling that something wasn’t right kept crawling in my mind. I was sitting crosslegged with my jaw resting on my palms as I srutinized my room slowly like a despondent young man, which i was.
My room was four cornered with no much difference from a small cell, it was a small apartment i rented out of desperation. The room lacked a friendly look and wasn’t shy to portray my miserable life style. At the left corner of the room opposite my bed was a standing fan that kept rotating like a security light on a tower. Scattered around my room were two gallons, five empty rusty pots and a small stove and some utensils.
I wasn’t admiring my collections, i was rather reminiscing about my current predicament. It was a predicament i placed upon myself without realising it. I was struggling to survive on my own….i had nobody, though i once had, but they had left me!
I was still engrossed in my self pity when from afar I heard a man calling me. The man was inviting me… summoning me to come! Jumping up from my bed i realised that someone was there afterall, someone who might stay forever…forever might be never, but presently, this very second; forever is now. I glanced at my wristwatch….it was precisely 4:45 a.m. My front door opened as i turned the key and held the door handle down. Searching desperately, I strained my eyes into the dark street, looking for the man. Haplessly I couldn’t see nor hear him anymore. I felt despondent again! He left same way the others had left. The way they left me out in the dark, alone!
My door was almost shut when i saw some young boys and elderly men waltzing to same direction, some in group. It was strange!
“Maybe these people are like me. Maybe they are searching for the same man I had heard” i reasoned. “They must be in great predicament like me to have woken up this early”.
With that thought, in a flurry i grabbed a shirt and ran out to join these strangers that I share the same pain with. I followed these strangers until they entered a big building. Standing at the gate of the building….feeling confused and lost, i rubbed my two eyes as if I had just woken up.
“What has come over me?!” I thought, “what am I doing following strangers in the dark when the world around is still asleep!”.
I turned away from the building, staring at the empty street. I was new in this neighbourhood as i have just moved in a few days back and was totally unaware of the calibre of people in this little vicinity. “I better go home now while I still can” I said to myself.
I glanced at the building inwhich the group of people had entered, ” But what really goes on in there? It will be a waste if I come all the way here without finding out what goes on in there. Moreover the strange man might be inside”.
I walked inside.
A few of the group of people i had followed were sitted opposite a running tap.
I had a sit too.
The man beside me began washing himself from his palm to his head then finally his legs.
I immitated him. “Maybe one has to be clean inorder to get into the main building” i imagined.
The man stood up, moved his lips silently as if reciting an incantation then departed for the main building where everyone else gathered.
I was standing by the door, staring into the full room. A man came from behind me, gazed at me cheerfully then stopped as he pulled his shoes. Another man approached from behind, the two men exchanged greetings, “peace be upon you” the latter man greeted, “peace be upon you” the other man replied as they walked hurriedly and joined the others.
I was amazed. Each of them kept smiling as if everything was perfect and probably would remain that way, but also kept hurrying as if there was no time and something needed their immediate attention. How i wish I could smile like them, to be relieved.
Another man appeared from behind me, he was a bit old and his jaw were covered with white beards. The crowd roused up as soon as the man was in their midst. The strange man I had heard calling me spoke up again. The man repeated the words he had said before but only in a little faster way. It was hard and rather impossible to point him out from the crowd.
I stared at them from the exist door, I couldn’t enter. I wasn’t sure if I was scared to enter or because I was too busy admiring their amazing act! The old man that I could refer to as their leader was reciting something. I didn’t know what he was singing, but just the way he sang made me sob unconciously.
It was as if he was singing and at the same time drumming and playing a soft tune from a violin to make his recitation sweet and melodious.
Then like soldiers on their training ground they all prostrated with their palm resting on their knees. They roused up from their prostration and down they went, bowing their head. They raised their head and were in a sitting position,within three seonds as if timed they bowed down their head again. They rouse up and were standing once more.
The old man started singing again. His melliflous voice attacked my heart, arrested my mind and soul. Without protestation i surrendered joyfully. It was as though my heart was being wiped clean with magical words, spreading a sense of relief throughout my entire body. It was an invigorating experience. I felt like angels were present and were blessing each soul that imbibed the old man singing.
The old man stopped singing and they all prostrated. They repeated what they had done the first time, but this time they didn’t stand up after the second bowing. They remained sitted. Finally I saw them turning their head from right to left like the standing fan in my room.
I was standing, transfixed, gazing at them with watery eyes. One of the men had looked back, towards where i was standing. The man moved closer to the old man whose rather melliflous voice must be complimented. They whispered to eachother, some minutes later everyone in the room were staring at me!
Run! Run! Run!, my head beseeched me.
I was petrified, my legs were shaking, feeling so heavy and stuck to the ground! I couldn’t move or run! What will these people do to me? Its late! Its dark! Oh my God!
One of the men approached me. The man’s moustache were cut, he had lot of beards around his jaw like the old man.
Even as my legs had failed me from running, i still felt at ease as soon as the the man smiled and said, “peace be upon you”. And as if the words had some magic spells of healing i felt my legs back and strong, ready to run if the need arises.
“Peace be upon you too”, i replied the man………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
TO BE CONTINUED.
Plz drop your comment, what do you think of this so far???